Drag Illustrated Issue 179, November / December 2022 - Page 127

KELLEY

MURPHY

■ KELLEY MURPHY is the prime example of the generational nature of drag racing . Murphy ’ s father , Tim , raced with veterans Mark Ingersoll and Steve Schmidt in the 1990s , so the younger Murphy has been around Pro Stock for most of his life . Today , he drives the hauler for the JEGS-branded Chevrolet Camaro wheeled by Troy Coughlin Jr . and handles the back-half and transmissions for what the Elite Motorsports team affectionately refers to as “ the yellow car .”
Murphy works alongside Elite Motorsports crew chief Ingersoll , who also grew up in the sport . World champion driver and innovator Buddy Ingersoll was his father .
November / December 2022
“ Mark is one-of-a-kind ,” says Murphy . “ His passion level matches mine , and I ’ ll be honest – sometimes that ’ s a good thing , and sometimes that ’ s a bad thing . Every once in a while , there ’ s some head-butting because we ’ re around each other all the time . But most of the time , I shut up and listen so I can learn something . He worked with my dad , so it ’ s cooler than cool how everything has come full-circle . Mark is the man .”
Murphy certainly wasn ’ t handed his position because of who he knew . He attended tech school at UNOH , and the school sponsored the Dodge entries driven by Jeg Coughlin Jr . and Erica Enders in 2016 .
“[ The team ] was looking for help , and I kept pushing and pushing ,” says Murphy . “ So they brought me out at Indy in 2016 , and I ran the last five or six races with them . I got to do some part-time stuff with Alex Laughlin in 2017 , then in 2018 I moved over to the JEGS car . The rest is history .”
So far , one of his most treasured moments has been winning with Troy Coughlin Jr . The team claimed their first and second wins in 2022 .
“ We really struggled for about the first year and a half with this car , but we finally broke through in Seattle , and it was unbelievable ,” Murphy says . “ We ’ d been trying for so long , and it finally happened . We were happy , for sure .” As one would expect , Murphy is also a racer . “ I race my dad ’ s car when we have time – which isn ’ t very often , but when we can do it , it ’ s great ,” he says , referencing the ‘ 69 Shelby clone that ’ s outfitted with a small-block Ford and 5-speed Lenco transmission , similar to a nostalgia Pro Stocker .
“ I ’ d like to drive Pro Stock at some point , for sure . Even if it ’ s just a one-and-done deal , that would be good enough . But long term , if Mark will teach me something , I ’ d like to eventually be a crew chief . We ’ ll see , but I ’ m in it for the long haul .” – KELLY WADE DI
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